A New Strategic Plan for a Thriving Organization

Susan E. Wiegers, MD, FASE, FACC

As I assume the Presidency of the ASE, I have to acknowledge how surprised the echocardiography fellow would have been to know that 27 years later, she would be the President of the organization that would be her professional home. I also am amazed at the growth of the organization over this time frame. One of my most distinct memories is of an early Scientific Sessions meeting in a hotel in Washington, DC with an attendance of about 700 people and basically one track of content. Now the organization has an annual Scientific Sessions attracting over 2,500 echo enthusiasts from 45 countries around the globe with over five days offering more than 200 track sessions!

Strategic planning is an important process in the life cycle of any organization. Ten years ago, I was on the Board of Directors when ASE undertook a ten-year strategic plan. During that retreat, we developed a vision statement of our goals for the ASE by 2015. I am so impressed with how right the ASE leadership at the time got it. I quote the statement in part here:

ASE will be a vibrant, effective, forward-thinking professional society that helps its members adapt and thrive in a changing environment. The majority of individuals who use cardiovascular ultrasound have joined ASE, in addition to the leaders in the field. The Society plays an important role in shaping the profession it serves.

As a patient-centered organization, ASE provides practice guidelines and relevant educational programs to strengthen the effectiveness of the cardiovascular team. Through frequent interaction and open lines of communication, members share information and create strong, supportive relationships. The Society serves as an effective advocate for the discipline, provides valuable public communication, and has collaborative relationships with professional organizations…

It is remarkable how much of this statement describes our organization today. Our recent successes in advocacy speak for themselves. Our educational programs are extremely well received and well attended, a vital part of our mission, and our guidelines have been translated into five languages and are referenced around the world.

The 2015 ASE Board retreat in February focused on our new, three-year strategic plan. The future is contracting—as our very wise Immediate Past President Neil Weissman has reminded us, and planning another ten-year strategic plan seemed like a foolish idea. We settled on three years as a reasonable timeline to develop goals and then strategies and tactics to move our organization forward. After a lot of discussion and deliberations, the Board voted to approve the following four Goals which you may have heard about at the Scientific Sessions last month.

Goal 1: Attract all users of CV ultrasound by creating quality and value. It is important that we are involved in the discussion about quality and appropriate use, by being engaged with other users of cardiac ultrasound. This includes point of care users as well as the structural heart team. Many medical schools are providing their students access to hand-held ultrasound machines from Day 1, and ASE should be part of their education and guide the future leaders in the field.

Goal 2: Promote the value of CV ultrasound to be well-known by patients, payors, and healthcare providers. As I mentioned, the ASE advocacy efforts truly paid off when the SGR repeal did not include any new limitations on the use or reimbursement for cardiac ultrasound. Our CEO, Robin Wiegerink, was invited to the White House Rose Garden for the signing celebration (check out Facebook). But many of us know that even patients may be confused about the difference between an ECG and an Echo. It is important for our organization to advocate about the unique advantages of cardiac ultrasound.

Goal 3: Facilitate the development and application of novel CV ultrasound technology. Rather than being a static field, cardiac ultrasound is a dynamic technology. But we can’t be satisfied with 3D and strain imaging. We need to partner with the innovators of technology, both industry and scientists, to further advance the field with the ultimate goal of improving patient outcomes.

Goal 4: Create a governance structure that is representative of our membership and supports an efficient and effective organization. This sounds a bit dull as a goal, but the basic structure of the ASE—the foundation, the board, the councils, hasn’t been reviewed in 12 years since the start of the ASE Foundation in 2003. It is important to engage the board and make sure that the ASE is responsive to its members and the broader clinical community of patients, practitioners, and others interested in providing quality care.

During my tenure as ASE’s president I will work with the members of the new executive committee and board to realize these goals and move the organization and field forward. Developing these goals we did our best to carefully weigh our members’ needs with those of the larger field of cardiovascular ultrasound, but if we are missing anything that you feel needs to be targeted, I want to hear from you! I look forward to serving as your representative and conduit for ASE, please email me at president@asecho.org .

Dr. Susan E. Wiegers, FASE, FACC is Senior Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and a Professor of Medicine at Temple University School of Medicine.

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Apr 21, 2018 | Posted by in CARDIOLOGY | Comments Off on A New Strategic Plan for a Thriving Organization

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